„From Sea to Dawn“ is an exhibition of performance traces: an ongoing work-in-progress that spans video, paint, drawing, text, poetry, photographs, and found objects. Its motivating theme is current news representations of migration. The goal is to invite viewers to witness and ruminate on these events with them.
In an approach typical for the artists, everything has been created in character, as 'creatures.' The creatures have distinct personas that are built up gradually and collaboratively, often in impromptu interactions with everyday objects. As the creature builds its identity, it constructs an organic ecosystem of objects and is influenced by it in turn. In From Sea to Dawn many of the creatures’ performance props evoke the migrant’s life: mylar, plastic water bottles, flashlights, and especially the ubiquitous orange life jacket, which is repurposed here as masks, torsos, prosthetics, and braces.
The animated video work, „From Sea to Dawn“ (2016–2017), uses news imagery of the migrants’ journey across Europe. Familiar images are distorted with painterly patterns that interrupt what the artists see as the photographs’ conventional Western modes of representation, especially its sentimental, romanticizing pathos. By using symmetry, flatness, distortion, and humor, the video retells the migrants’ journey in an Eastern visual language.
Many of the same strategies are used in „Where’s Waldo“ (2016–2017), a portfolio of collaborative drawings. Migrant stories are stilled and distilled, wreathed in 'grotesque garlands' to give the bodies a more forceful sensory impact. They describe these works on paper as 'a regurgitation, a throwing up and taking in again, ruminative, like a philosopher — or a cow.'
„Unfaithful Poems“ (2013–2017) is a portfolio of drawings and paintings that respond to fragments of poetry. The text was commissioned by the artists as an 'unfaithful,' subjective rewriting of a twentieth-century Iranian 'pilgrimage ballad,' which translates the migrant’s story for the present.
The project unfolds within several large paintings. They see their pigment-based work as 'unpaintings': produced in the medium’s negative space, decentering its traditional, expressive focus on the ego of an individual artist — which is also the aim of their “creaturely” collaborative process.
Ramin Haerizadeh (b. 1975, Tehran), Rokni Haerizadeh (b. 1978, Tehran) and Hesam Rahmanian (b. 1980, Knoxville) have lived and worked collaboratively in Dubai since 2009.
They work independently and together propagating a form of collaboration that doesn't suppress individualism. The seeds of their language were sown as early as 1999 in Iran. Their practice offers up a novel redefinition of the collective, as theirs is constantly growing and contracting to incorporate friends, writers, and artists at large. It entails the use of both low and high art references, and freely embraces 'what is considered marginal, wasted, wrong, messed up, useless, and taken for granted'. Their individual practices differ stylistically while political and social commentary become inherently subversive in a common reflection. The exhibitions they conceive are as much insights into their daily practice, which they designate as the ritual of living and working together.
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